Dear Family and Friends,
As many of you know, soon after Michael and I were married we moved across the U.S. for college and again for Grad school, making new friends along the way. During our nearly 8 years together we have seen many of our dreams come to fruition. We've always felt so blessed to have support, love, amazing advice and words of encouragement from family and friends along the way.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to enjoy the one thing we looked forward to the most--starting a family with a baby of our own. We assumed we would be like other couples and have children while our lives moved forward together. When this didn't happen after a few years, Michael and I began to realize that we might not be like most couples--we may not be able to conceive naturally.
Some of you are aware that I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was 18, and had to have surgery when I was 19 for the removal of endometrial cysts on my uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. I knew that having this condition may cause fertility problems, but I never imagined it would cause more than 7 years of delays and complications for Michael and me. The physicians were hopeful that the surgery would not interfere with conception. Yet as Michael and I tried to start our family, we realized that there must be additional problems. We did what we thought we should; we sought guidance from my physician, we waited, prayed, and kept trying, hoping that things would improve.
In February of this year I sought advice again from a fertility specialist but received disheartening news. My endometriosis had returned causing a cyst the size of a softball on one of my ovaries and a cluster of smaller grape-sized cysts on the other. My physician then informed me that I needed surgery immediately with the possibility that my uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries would need to be removed because my cysts could be cancerous. As difficult as this thought was to me, there were still more questions. How are we going to pay for this? What am I supposed to do now? Do I have cancer? If not, will I ever be able to conceive? Thankfully, surgery went better than we all had hoped. I was informed--with a huge hug from my doctor--that all that needed to be removed were the endometrial cysts. And even better, not one cyst was cancerous! This was amazing news. Our prayers had been answered. But one thought still remained. Conception would be difficult without the aid of fertility treatments, drugs, shots and possibly InVitro Fertilization.
My doctor is hopeful that Intro Uterine Insemination (IUI), a less expensive form of fertilization, could help us start our family, but it may require 2 or 3 procedures before one works. Each individual IUI will cost around $1,500 with an additional $600 for fertility shots. Sadly, this is something we are incapable of doing on our own on a middle-school teacher and student's salary. Our funds have been depleted, and past school loans are preventing us from acquiring any other loans to help with the procedures. And, our insurance will not cover the procedure. If these procedures don't work, we can accept Heavenly Father's plan for us, and begin the adoption process. But that too will require money.
Out of all that the Lord has blessed us with, we have been blessed with the love and generosity of parents who have supported us along the way, offering emotional and financial support, helping to pay for the surgeries that I desperately needed. They helped cover what our insurance wouldn't, and more. Unfortunately, no one tells you when you get married that you should put aside a fertility fund just in case you are one of those people who cannot conceive naturally.
Writing this letter is difficult for me. It has taken a great deal of courage, strength, and humility on my part to share our personal lives in such an open way. It is not something I would normally do, but we feel that we have done all that we can do on our own. The reason we are sharing such personal information with you now is that we hope that as our closest family and friends, you may feel compelled to be a part of our journey, and would like to help us realize our dream for a child of our own. What we can't do alone we hope you may wish to help us accomplish.
We know that times are troubling for everyone, and truthfully I feel almost ashamed to ask for help--especially on such a personal level. But it\'s amazing what even the smallest contribution could do for us. We understand that this may be too much to ask of some of you. We will not feel offended if you are unable to help. You can leave your words of encouragement and prayers, which are extremely appreciated and will help keep me motivated in this difficult time.
Thank you so much for all of your support, help, love and prayers.
We love you all.
Jayna and Michael Smith